Friday, May 25, 2012

DVD Review and Giveaway: The Genesis Code


About the Movie:
Kerry Wells (Kelsey Sanders), a college journalist and committed Christian with an effervescent personality, has been assigned to do a story on Blake Truman (Logan Bartholomew) the college’s newest and very popular hockey superstar. As a relationship between them begins to develop Kerry finds that Blake, who hides behind a tough and independent fa├žade, is actually struggling through a difficult personal crisis and that he bears the cross of a secret he has kept hidden for years. Blake rebuffs Kerry's suggestion that prayer might help ease his burden; he is convinced that modern science completely disproves the Bible, especially the opening verses of Genesis. Kerry — who is herself suddenly confronted with a challenge to her faith on another front — sets out to prove that science and Genesis are not in conflict and her quest leads to a startling revelation. Could it be that what science teaches us about creation and the Story as told in Genesis are both true!

My Review:
This movie is interesting and aims to help people see that creation in Genesis is a fact, not fiction. However, I do not think they need to try so hard to make the Bible fit into science. I don't see the need to reconcile the two. The Bible is God's Word, the ultimate truth and authority! Science can easily be wrong as we see many times when new discoveries are made. 6 days or billions of years? The movie proposes that it depends on which frame of reference. It suggests that both are right and the Big Bang theory is supported. It explains that time is determined by speed, gravity, and stretch of space. Anyway, the acting is good and a song sung in the karaoke scene ("Soldier's King") is really nice. Besides alcohol drinking, immodest clothing (in 1 scene), and kissing, it's a clean family movie (rated PG). And if you're a science lover, you may enjoy this movie :).



Website: http://www.thegenesiscodemovie.com/
Facebook:
 http://www.facebook.com/thegenesiscodemovie
Twitter:
 http://www.facebook.com/thegenesiscodemovie
Dove Foundation Review:
 http://www.dove.org/reviewpopup.asp?Unique_ID=8437

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this DVD. Deadline: 6/10/12. Open only to U.S. residents.
To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. What's your take on creation?
For Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter


“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Movie Review: Cowgirls N' Angels

I had the opportunity to watch the movie Cowgirls n' Angels' online advance screening last week. The movie is in theaters today (5/25), starring James Cromwell, Bailee Madison, and Jackson Rathbone. Rated PG.

About Cowgirls N' Angels:

Cowgirls N' Angels is a heartwarming movie that tells the story of Ida, a feisty and rebellious young girl, who has dreams of finding her father, a rodeo rider. While searching for her dad, she connects with the Sweethearts of the Rodeo, a team of young female rodeo riders run by former rodeo star Terence Parker. Recognizing Ida's innate talent for trick riding, Terence recruits her for their ranks. Accepted wholeheartedly by her new "family," Ida finds a new passion that redefines her life, and may also help her find the father she's been searching for.

My Review:

My daughter and I enjoyed this movie. Ida, a 12 year old girl, is living with her single mother and desperately wants to find her father who abandoned them. Terence who knew Ida's grandfather takes her in as one of his team riders. Ida's intense desire to find her father leads her into some trouble. But it has a happy ending! I love the music in this movie :). The acting is excellent. There are some immodest clothing, alcohol, and romance. Otherwise, it's a clean, feel-good movie that the whole family can enjoy. Horse lovers would love this movie.

Monday, May 21, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: CD: A Place to Belong by Lisa Troyer

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card artist is:


and the cd:

℗ 2012 LifeWay Worship

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Radio personality, recording artist, speaker and author Lisa Troyer finds herself heart-deep in ministries that are changing lives forever. Her incredibly successful Circle of Friends women's ministry, formed over a decade ago, is growing in all directions. With ministry and songwriting partner Dawn Yoder, Lisa and her Circle of Friends offer women's conferences, leadership training, counseling services, worship music, life skills classes and marriage/family resources. No matter the outlet or the venue, Lisa uses her gift of encouragement, her influence and her resources to open doors for women everywhere to discover their significance and belonging through Christ.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT CD DESCRIPTION:

Every woman needs acceptance, love and a place to belong. That's the underlying theme of the new music CD, A Place to Belong (Lifeway Worship), from singer/songwriter Lisa Troyer, president of Circle of Friends Ministries. Refreshingly authentic and dynamic, the companion worship CD to Troyer's recently released book, A Place to Belong: Out of Our Comfort Zone and into God's Adventure (Barbour Publishing), tenderly draws women into a place of true freedom and belonging in the very heart of God.

To order go HERE.

Product Details:
$7.92 or $0.99 per song
Genres: Christian & Gospel, Music
Released: Mar 23, 2012
℗ 2012 LifeWay Worship

MY REVIEW:
I enjoyed listening to this CD. It's peaceful and worshipful. It includes 8 songs.
  1. Love Falls Down
  2. I Believe in You
  3. Your Love Endures
  4. Let Us Bow Down
  5. Thank You for the Cross
  6. God the Victorious
  7. I Found Grace
  8. Lifting My Praise Up
The music is beautiful and the lyrics are very encouraging, highlighting God's love, grace, and mercy. My favorites are I Believe in You, Let Us Bow Down, and Thank You for the Cross. I Found Grace is the excellent theme song of the album and of Circle of Friends. The song really sums up what Circle of Friends is all about. Check out this wonderful CD!

AND NOW...A SAMPLE SONG OFF THE CD:


Sunday, May 13, 2012

What I Didn't Know by Rhonda Shrock


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!


What I Didn't Know by Rhonda Shrock

I always knew I wanted to be a mother.  As a girl, I played house with my dollies, shushing them when they cried and kissing their plastic heads.

Looking back at that girl, I realize now that there was a lot she didn't know.  This morning over my fresh-ground coffee, this mother of 22-1/2 years scratched out a list of 10 things she didn't know then that she knows now.

1.  I didn't know - how could I? - just how completely a tiny, helpless scrap of humanity can capture the heart and hold it forever.  From that first whooshing heartbeat and the first butterfly brushes, a mother's heart is never again her own.  For all eternity, it enlarges, walking and pulsing and moving outside of her body; in my case, in the shape of a blue-eyed boy with rooster tails.  Times four.

2.  I didn't know that the size of a mother's heart is always changing, stretching to embrace each new baby that comes, then growing again to love their friends and then their own families.

3.  I never knew, as I changed my dolly's dress, how many reasons there are to worry when you're a mama.   Didn't know about the nighttime vigils.  Didn't know the anxiety of separation, the terror that floods when you turn around in the grocery store and they're gone.  Didn't know about the fear of the pond next door or the concern that pays for swimming lessons.  Didn't know the thousand-and-one reasons that keep a mother awake, whispering prayers on her pillow in the dark.

4.  No one told me that loving so much means that you will hurt hard and keen;  that what pains your child hurts you even worse.  I didn't know then that a playground taunt travels through that smaller heart and lands square in yours, stinging and burning like fire.  I didn't know that motherhood makes lionesses of us all and that there'd be days I'd have to bite my tongue and pray to not sin.

5.  I didn't know how exhausting it is, being a mother.  I didn't know that it takes everything you've got and then some.  Didn't know the bone-deep exhaustion; how it strips you bare and shows how selfish you can be, but, too, that you have more strength than you know.

6.  I didn't know, playing house, how much joy mothers feel; joy so big that it makes up for the pain.  Just looking at those eyes and the curve of the cheek can make you so happy it hurts.  Watching them grow and find their talent and win at something...all the money in the world can never buy that kind of happiness.

7.  I didn't know how making babies and raising them, how it binds you to their father.  I didn't know the intimacy you feel when your eyes meet above those tousled heads, and your smiles say, "Just look at what we've done."

8.  That girl in the homemade dress, she didn't know that letting go is one of the hardest things a grown-up mama will ever do.  Rocking those babies in that small rocking chair, she didn't really know that babies grow up and walk away and there goes your heart, out into the big, wide world.  No one told her that part.

9.  I had no idea how rewarding it is, being a mother.  How the happiness that comes from boy kisses and awkward hugs can't be bought or sold.  How proud you feel when you see what they're growing up to be and that all the planting and pruning and watering and feeding is finally making fruit!

10.  I didn't know how much my babies would enrich my spiritual life or how they would change the way I pray.  I didn't realize they would lead me to a deeper dependence on the Heavenly Father or how I much I would need His wisdom to raise them aright.

These are things I didn't know before I was a mother.  But I know them now.  Oh, how I know them now!  And I’d do it all again.

###

Rhonda Schrock lives in Northern Indiana with her husband and 4 sons, ages 22, 18, 13, and 5. By day, she is a telecommuting medical transcriptionist. In the early morning hours, she flees to a local coffee shop where she pens “Grounds for Insanity,” a weekly column that appears in The Goshen News. She is an occasional guest columnist in The Hutch News.  She’s also blogged professionally for her son’s school of choice, Bethel College, in addition to humor and parenting blogs, and maintains her personal blog, “The Natives are Getting Restless.” She is a writer and editor for the magazine, "Cooking & Such:  Adventures in Plain Living."  She survives and thrives on prayer, mochas, and books.  

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

He Will Walk With You by Carey Bailey


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!


He Will Walk With You by Carey Bailey

As a little girl, I loved baby dolls. Loved them! I played school, adoption agency, daycare operator and babysitter all day. I felt like I was born to be a mama. Therefore, I was a bit anxious when the ages, 22, 25, 28 and 32 came and went and there were no babies. Have you ever desired something so much and feared never getting it? That was me.

My day finally came at the age of 34. I soon realized that God knew what He was doing when He had me wait. To my shock, it wasn’t as easy as playing with dolls. I was surprised that it wasn’t the dream world I imagined it would be! I felt like life became a gigantic prayer.

“God, HELP me!”

“Please, God. Please, please, please make it all better. I can’t do this!”

“God, this feels impossible. Where are you?”

While I adore motherhood, it is harder and there are more adjustments than I expected. (I am hoping there are some nodding of heads and Amen’s being said out there in cyberworld.) Not only did I have a new life to care for, but my identity suddenly felt all scrambled up. It took me until my son was one to finally feel confident in my new role as a mother, confident that I could drop my child off at preschool without crying, confident that I could go out with the girls’ and the world wouldn’t fall apart, and confident that I could go on a date night and have conversations that didn’t revolve just around our son.

I was feeling settled in my new world and then WHAM! I discovered I was pregnant again. Can I be vulnerable with you? I actually cried when I found out. And they were not tears of joy. I feel awful saying that out loud, and I hope you will give me a moment to explain. It was not that I didn’t want another baby or feel like I couldn’t love a new life, it was just that I got scared. Discovering a little person was on the way sent a panic through me. Would my son still receive the love and attention that he deserved? How was my husband going to feel about my body changing again? Would I ever be able to pursue the vision I felt God had for me in writing and publishing? I was truly wondering if I was going to be able to handle another intense wave of identity crisis like the one I had just been through. I wasn’t sure.

God and I needed a serious talk. And in that conversation He carefully reminded me of this:

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

He reminded me in our time together that I, too, am His child and He has every intention of loving me, caring for me, and giving me the future that He has planned for me.

As mothers, we can get so caught up in parenting that we forget that we, too, have a spiritual parent who loves us as His child. He loves you as much as He loves the children He has given you. He will never forsake you.  And on those days when motherhood seems too overwhelming and too impossible I step back and take a deep breath. Then I remember that this journey I am on, right now, is the one He has designed and create uniquely for me. I simply need to live in it, learn from it, and allow His love to sweep over and through me.

He will walk with me! He will walk with you! Grab His hand.

###

Carey Bailey is a recovering perfectionist, wife, proud mama, and the Family Life Director for her church in Arizona. She hosts an online community for moms called Cravings: desiring God in the midst of motherhood where she strives to make God time easier. Not less meaningful, just easier. She is the author of Cravings {The Devotional} which is a set of forty devotional flashcards for the mama on the go. Visit Carey online blog: www.cravingstheblog.blogspot.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CravingsOnline and Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/careycbailey/

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Stepping Out on Faith by Bonnie St. John


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!


Stepping Out on Faith by Bonnie St. John

"Darcy . . .”

“Yeah, Mom?”

I momentarily held the undivided attention of my teenage daughter. Her thumbs, free of their ubiquitous texting keypad, quietly dangled by her side. Her computer and its omnipresent Facebook page were completely out of sight. I had almost forgotten what she looked like without all these adolescent accoutrements. As we sat down together on the burgundy leather sofa in our living room, I realized this fleeting state of electronic dislocation was my chance to hatch a plan I had been formu- lating for the past several weeks. Carpe diem.

“How would you like to write a book together?”

“About what?” I asked my mom. Write a book? This was a real surprise. I felt a bit suspicious, but still curious.  I love to write, and Mom kept telling me I was really good at it. I like writing poetry, fantasy, and sci-fi, though.  The books Mom wrote were all nonfiction.  I wondered what we could possibly do together.

“Well . . .” I hesitated. If I wanted her to commit to any extra work out- side her busy schedule at school—not to mention work alongside her mother—I had to make this really great. “It would be about women as leaders,” I continued, “a mother-daughter investigation into leadership styles and structures.”

“Leadership?” I blurted. It came out as if I had a bad taste in my mouth—which I did.  I couldn’t imagine a more boring topic to write about. What is there to say about leadership anyway? When you’re in charge, you just get things done, right? Who wants to talk about that?

Her furrowed brow told me I was losing her fast. “Um . . . we could find women leaders all around the world!” I said impulsively, frantically casting the ultimate bait.

“Really? Would we get to travel a lot?”  I hadn’t thought about that. Heck, I’d write about the mating habits of tsetse flies  if I got to go to Africa to do it!

But this project wasn’t just about the influence it would have on Darcy. I wanted to do something that could have a potent impact on an alarming trend I had witnessed in workplaces across the country: far too many women appeared to be making a choice not to apply for top leadership positions when presented with the opportunities to do so.

This project, then, was a bit of a Trojan horse. On the one hand, the saga of a mother-daughter journey could seduce female readers, who might never bother to read the Harvard Business School dissertations on the subject, into a meaningful conversation about leadership. At the same time, if Darcy met a series of brilliant, accomplished women— people even a cynical teen would be in awe of—perhaps they could tell her all the things I’d like her to know—and more.

And she just might listen.

But where to start? How would we make it work? I suggested we do most of our research by phone, as I did for How Strong Women Pray. My telephone interviews with a governor, some CEOs, actors, sports figures, a college president, and others yielded great stories and information. I promised my intrepid co-author, though, that we could punctuate these conversations with a few visits in person to exciting and exotic places—all with reasonably priced airfares.

“Why don’t we follow each subject as she goes about her daily life? That way our readers get to come along with us and get a behind- the-scenes look at what happens to them. Instead of just a boring interview, we—and our readers—get to hang around with these women, see them in their natural habitat, and even see how other people treat them.”

Although I agreed it was a wonderful approach, this idea of “job- shadowing” each featured subject wasn’t going to be easy. Would these high-powered, important women deign to allow us that kind of access? Would they be able to impart the kind of wisdom that would resonate with our readers and truly make a difference in their lives?  We looked at each other, both of us hooked on a crazy idea that we weren’t sure we could pull off.

“It sounds impossible, Darcy,” I said. “We might as well get started.”

And so, we stepped out . . . on faith.

###


Bonnie is a 1984 Paralympics silver medal winner in ski racing. Her education includes a degree with honors from Harvard, a Rhodes scholarship, and an M.Litt in Economics from Oxford.  Her career includes positions as an award-winning sales rep for IBM and a Clinton White House member of staff. She now is a much-in-demand speaker, who makes nearly 100 speeches each year to corporations and civic groups. You can visit her on the Web at www.bonniestjohn.com.

Re-printed with permission from How Great Women Lead by Bonnie St. John and Darcy Deane


Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What I Am Not by Tricia Goyer


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!

What I Am Not by Tricia Goyer

Becoming a mother is a complicated thing. Not only am I trying to negotiate a relationship with my child, I am trying to negotiate a relationship with myself as I attempt to determine how I mother, how I feel about mothering, how I want to mother and how I wish I was mothered.
— Andrea J. Buchanan, in Mother Shock3

Sometimes the easiest way to discover who we are is to know who we are not.

We are not our children. We all know mothers who go overboard trying to make themselves look good by making their children look great. I saw one woman on the Oprah television show who had bought her preschool daughter more than twelve pairs of black shoes just so the girl could have different styles to go with her numerous outfits! Just as we -don’t get report cards for mothering, we also -don’t get graded on our child’s looks or accomplishments. While you want your children to do their best and succeed in life, your self-esteem -shouldn’t be wrapped up in your child.

Life as I See It:

My individuality will never end. There will be no one exactly like me, not even my child. She will be like me in some ways, but not at all in others. I -wouldn’t have it any other way.
— Desiree, Texas

We are not our mothers. I remember the first time I heard my mother’s voice coming out of my mouth. The words “because I told you so .  .  .” escaped before I had a chance to squelch them.

It’s not until we have kids that we truly understand our mothers — all their frets, their nagging, and their worries.

It’s also then that we truly understand their love.

Since you are now a mother, it’s good to think back on how you were raised. If there were traditions or habits that now seem wise and useful, incorporate them into your parenting. You also have permission to sift out things you now know -weren’t good. Just because you’re a product of your mother, that -doesn’t mean you have to turn out just like her. Repeat after me, “I am not my mother.”

We are not like any other mother out there. Sometimes you may feel like the world’s worst mother. After all, your friend never yells at her son — and sometimes you do. Then again, your friend may feel bad because you have a wonderful bedtime routine that includes stories and songs. In many cases, the moms you feel inferior to only look like they have it together. All moms feel they -don’t “measure up.” Instead of feeling unworthy, we should realize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The key is where we place our focus.

The Bible says, “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without .  .  . comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we -aren’t” (Romans 12:5 – 6, MESSAGE).

The problem with comparison is, we always measure our weaknesses against the strengths of others.

Instead, we need to thank God for our strengths. We can also ask God to help us overcome our weaknesses — not because we want to compare ourselves, or look good in someone else’s eyes, but because we want to be the best mom out there.

###



Tricia Goyer is a CBA best-selling author and the winner of two American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Awards (Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights). She co-wrote 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and contributed to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Also a noted marriage and parenting writer, she lives with her husband and children in Arkansas. You can find her online at www.triciagoyer.com or at her weekly radio show, Living Inspired.


Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

She's...My Everything by Suzanne Woods Fisher


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!

She’s…My Everything by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A mother is one who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.
--Cardinal Mermillod 

Just a few more months. My mother was hoping Dad would hang on long enough so they could celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary in April. But on January 1st, as the sun rose on the new year, my dad’s worn out heart beat its last. Dad had battled Alzheimer’s Disease for ten years. As many of you know, AD is a long, hard journey. Hard on the one afflicted with the disease, hard on the caregivers.

But not without its blessings.

Four years ago, as I began researching stories for Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, my path crossed with a handful of Plain families who were coping with Alzheimer’s. It was just about the point when Dad’s illness was shifting from early to mid stages AD and the timing was a divine accident. I learned so much as I observed the calm acceptance of these families. Rather than waste time shaking a fist at God for allowing this disease to take their loved one, they put their energy into trusting God’s sovereignty. They didn’t deny the difficulties and complications and sadness of Alzheimer’s, but they didn’t dwell on them. “God has a plan,” one woman told me. “He always has a plan.”  

Something else I noticed was how privileged my Amish friends felt about caring for their loved one. Caring for the elderly, they believe, is the time to give back to them.

Those encounters shaped my perspective of Dad’s illness. I started to pay attention to how God provided answers to new wrinkles created by Alzheimer’s, just in time. God may be slow, but He is never late.
I started to cherish special moments or good days with Dad—just as he was at each point in his illness. Not mourning the past, not dreading the future.

I really miss my dad. I miss his scratchy whiskers and the way his eyebrows would wiggle at us, even as words failed him. Yet I have such peace in my heart that he was well loved and well cared for, right to the very end. And as hard as Dad’s end of life has been, it isn’t the end. We will meet again. As the saying goes, “Some may see a hopeless end, but as believers we rejoice in an endless hope.”

There’s a beautiful story that illustrates my parents’ 59-year marriage. This event happened about a year or two ago. My sister had accompanied our mother to the doctor appointment for Dad at the Stanford Memory Clinic.

Dad had declined quite a bit that month. He was weak and lethargic, even to the point of whispering, as if it took too much energy to project his voice. During the doctor's appointment, the doctor told my mother and sister that Dad was now in late stages of Alzheimer's. Dad didn’t have much vocabulary left, but when the doctor asked him who mom was, he whispered something back. The doctor looked at Mom and asked, "Did you hear what he just said?"

Mom shook her head.

"When I asked him who you were, he whispered, 'She's...my everything.'"

###

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a writer of bestselling fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne is the host of Amish Wisdom, a weekly radio program on toginet.com, and writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post. Suzanne can be found on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

Re-printed with permission by Cooking & Such, www.sherrygorebooks.com.

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Joy Comes from Perseverance by Sheila Walsh


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!


Joy Comes from Perseverance by Sheila Walsh


One of the most important lessons I have learned in my own life is the joy that comes from perseverance. Eugene Peterson, borrowing a phrase from Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote his book  “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction …Discipleship in an Instant Society.” He points to the Psalms as the way believers have always learned to pray what they live and live what they pray but it is not a short journey. It is an intentional commitment to keep walking even when you are worn out.


*If we want to see lasting results in any area of life it’s important to keep walking in that direction.

*If we want to have a better understanding of the Gospel of John then it takes time and commitment to dig deeper day after day.

*If we want to be thinner this summer than last summer then the work begins now not then.
So too in our relationship with Christ…..

*If we want to know Him at a more profoundly intimate level, that also takes an intentional seeking after Him every day.

As a grown woman I have come to love the beauty of this gift. Passing this “mined treasure” onto my son on the other hand has been an interesting challenge.  We live in such a fast paced, attention-challenged culture where the latest thing can be delivered to your doorstep by tomorrow for a few dollars more. But, as you know, by the time it is delivered it has already been replaced or updated!

How do we speak then into the lives of our children to help them understand and value perseverance?

For me…part of the puzzle meant a large piece of poster board, scissors, some photos and a bottle of Elmer’s glue. My son, Christian and I spread everything out on a sheet in the game room as I explained our project. “We’re going to make a family faith-tree,” I said. “These are photos of family on your dad’s side and on mine. Many of them have gone on to be with Jesus but the seeds they planted into our family continue to grow.” Then we wrote down their names and when they came to faith in Christ (as many as I knew).  It was quite something to see when we were finished.

“Your life matters Christian. Running your race well matters.”

That night we read these words from the writer to the Hebrews,

We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up.
Hebrews 12:1 (NCV)

###

Sheila Walsh is a Bible teacher, speaker, singer, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. Sheila Walsh is the creator of the award-winning Gigi, God’s Little Princess® and her new series, Gabby, God's Little Angel. Meet Gabby in Gabby's Stick-to-It-Day. As a featured speaker with Women of Faith®, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability and humor with God’s Word. She resides in Dallas with her husband Barry and son Christian. Visit www.sheilawalsh.com for more information about Sheila, her other books or Women of Faith.



Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Priceless Treasure by Cindy K. Stiverson


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Priceless Treasure by Cindy K. Stiverson

We've heard it said and often find it true:
You don't know the value of a treasure until you're without it. 

We take for granted the things in life that seem so readily available.
   A paperclip or rubber band, to hold things together.
   A tissue or napkin, to wipe our nose to clean our face, to absorb our tears.
   A Bible to speak words of wisdom and instruction and life and love.

And a Mother, who is all these things and more.
   She is readily available.
   She holds things together.
   She wipes our nose, cleans our face (and our fingers, and, well…everything else!)
   She absorbs our tears and calms our fears.
  "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." (Proverbs 31:26)
   She loves.

Within hours after my mother passed into the gates of our heavenly home, I was missing her. Her quick wit…humor…charm. Her warm smile and melodious laughter, which served her well to the very end, as did our Lord Jesus Christ, who so graciously allowed her to slip quietly and peacefully into His arms.

She simply stopped breathing.

As I stood at her bedside in those priceless moments after her passing, I wanted to touch her skin as much as possible while there was still warmth in her body; to nuzzle my nose against her head and breathe in the scent of her hair while she was still there. Priceless treasures I was guilty of taking for granted, clouded by unmet needs. I was so consumed with what she was not, that I never fully appreciated who she was. It’s like I was blind, but now I see!

I see her strength, her commitment. Her perseverance…sacrifice…her unspoken love. I see how much she meant to me, how much she did for me, how much she taught me, and how much of the good in me was modeled by her.

She was a virtuous woman, as described in Proverbs 31 of the Bible.
“Her children stand and bless her… a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise (vs. 31).”

This last verse of the poem serves as an epitaph for the woman of virtue. It speaks of the legacy she leaves in her passing. It spurred me to write a personal epitaph for my mother, which I read at her funeral.

We publicly declare your praise today, 
and in the days to come,
for you deserve to be praised and blessed,
"We honor you, Mom, for all you have done!"

In my earliest of memories, 
You worked so hard, striving for the rest.
You persevered through great trials
and did your very best.

I know you are being rewarded
in ways far beyond our reach.
We honor you now by practicing what you've taught,
and even what you preached!

You've stood for us for all these years,
Today, we stand for you!
I pray that our applause on earth
will reach your heavenly ears.

With the reading of this poem, I asked everyone to stand. We clapped our hands in celebration and praise of the life of my mother, Margaret Alice Stiltner.

Imagine our surprise to discover that she had left a poetic epitaph for us! She had clipped it from an old magazine and framed it. I found it when I was cleaning her home, on a nightstand by her bed. My mother was never versed at expressing emotion. This was her sweet way of kissing us good-bye: a priceless treasure to remember her by.


###

Cynthia (Cindy) Stiverson is a speaker, writer, and artist.  In 1998, she founded Woven: Women of Virtue Network, a spiritual formation and friendship ministry. She pastors the women at Newark Church of the Nazarene in Ohio. She is currently working on her fourth Woven Workbook, and also a book for mothers and daughters on the subject of sexual abuse. Cindy considers raising her daughter, speaker/author Nicole Braddock Bromley, to be her greatest achievement. She loves the men in her life, hubby Mark, grandbabes Jude and Isaac, and son-in-law Matthew. You can find more of Cindy at www.WovenWomen.blogspot.com and www.CynthiaStiverson.com


Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Answers for the 4A Epidemic

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Siloam (April 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Joseph Cannizzaro, MD, is the founder and managing pediatrician for the Pediatricians Care Unit in Longwood, Florida. He received his MD from the University of Bologna Medical School in Bologna, Italy, and has practiced pediatric medicine for thirty years with specialties in developmental pediatrics, nutrition, and preventative medicine.


Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


A groundbreaking integrative treatment program for autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies.
In the last two decades, the incidence of the 4-A disorders--autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies--has increased so drastically that many now call these four conditions "the new childhood epidemics." In this book, integrative pediatrician Joseph Cannizzaro lays a foundation for understanding the cause of all four conditions and then provides a comprehensive treatment program for each of them.

The medical community has generally overlooked the commonalities that link the 4-A disorders and, in most cases, has limited treatment to suppression of symptoms. Dr. Cannizzaro has focused his pediatric practice on the treatment of the 4-A disorders for the past five years. He and his colleagues are currently securing a research grant that will provide funding and national peer recognition of their groundbreaking treatment program, which is the first to combine traditional medical approaches with a full range of natural healing modalities.

Product Details:
List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Siloam (April 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616384840
ISBN-13: 978-1616384845

My Review:
Very interesting and informative book! What we eat and drink definitely affects our body and mind. This book educates and empowers parents to try nutritional therapy, supplementation therapy, detoxification therapy plus some other additional therapies for Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies besides medication. Check out this book to find out common causes for these 4 childhood disorders and learn ways to help treat them.


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Introduction
There IS Hope!
What has gone wrong? As even a casual reader or listener of the news knows, the statistics are alarming. Autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies––all four of which happen to begin with the letter “A”––are on the rise, especially among children. In fact, it is not stretching the definition of the word epidemic to use that term for the way these disorders are sweeping the Western world. None of them is communicable in the classic understanding of the term, but all four sets of disorders, as you will see throughout this book, share common root causes that contribute to the development of current epidemic proportions. Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (with and without hyperactivity—ADD/ADHD), asthma, and allergies—these are the new childhood epidemics.
A tragedy of this magnitude would be overwhelming except for a salient fact: These new epidemics can be defeated. After twenty years of treating patients, I have found that beneath the surface there is an unmistakable, unshakeable web of interrelationship among the 4-A disorders, and I have learned to recognize the patterns. Toxicity in the brain and body causes metabolic dysfunction, which cascades with other factors to produce one or more of these disorders. Often they overlap with each other in the same person. By uncovering and treating the common causes of these 4-A disorders, we can embark on a common (and hope-filled) path to recovery.
You are already aware of this epidemic or you would not have picked up this book. Most likely you are a parent of a child (or more than one child) who carries a diagnosis of one of these disorders. You may be overwhelmed with your situation at home, while your search for help merely seems to bury you in information and saddle you with enormous medical bills.
I want to empower people like you—parents of 4-A children—with comprehensive and effective tools. With you, I want to advocate for the health of your kids. At the same time I want to increase your skills to recognize your own body’s ongoing responses to disorder and stress so that you can make an ongoing and accurate assessment of how you’re doing as a whole family.
Holistic-Integrative Self-Medical Care
This book is a guide, not a cookbook. It will teach you principles as well as facts and point you in the right direction as you search out the best path. Recovering from any of the 4-A disorders is a journey, replete with side trips and even dead ends. But together with others you can make tangible progress toward the healthy, even contented, lifestyle you want for yourself and your loved ones.
What you as an individual do with this information is up to you. I want to teach you how to “self-practice” self-care in a holistic, integrative, and natural way. I want to introduce you to upstream medicine, in which we all play a role in searching out the causes of disease and eliminating them at the root.
The causes of this particular 4-A epidemic (and if I were not a pediatrician, I might add a fifth and more mature “A” to the list: Alzheimer’s disease) are omnipresent in our man-made, inevitably toxic environment. The detrimental effects of our environment have been causing all sorts of damage and disorder that is initially imperceptible and can remain so far varying durations within a person’s lifetime. In the case of many of our children the damage has manifested early on as the 4-A disorders, although some children escape.
All disease processes begin with changes in functional systems, imbalances that our bodies can bring back into balance up to a point. We cannot tell at first what damage to cells and tissues may have been initiated; for a time, we remain unaware of tissue damage or dysfunction.
But after a point of saturation, months or even years down the road, a point which varies from one individual and family to another, an invisible threshold is crossed, beyond which perceptible symptoms of a disease begin to appear.
When I use the term “upstream medicine,” I’m using it to communicate two ideas: (1) the way in which we can learn to trace symptoms of a disease back to common and basic metabolic roots, so that we can weed out toxicity and improve the health-promoting aspects of our environment, and (2) the way in which we can learn to anticipate damage or dysfunction long before actual disease symptoms begin to manifest, so as to keep our lifestyles as free as possible of disease-producing contaminants. An intermediate period exists wherein perceptible signs and symptoms of a potential disease are still “brewing,” and during which, if appropriate measures are taken, the full definitive disease will never come into being.
My Unique Qualifications
I am an established medical doctor with a pediatric specialty. As the parents of young patients have come to me for answers over the years, I became convinced that my medical toolbox was insufficient. I could help but only to a degree. Why should I spend my time and the hard-earned money of my patients’ families simply trying to suppress symptoms of a disease, especially life-consuming ailments such as these 4-A disorders?
I needed to be able to do more. I needed to learn to bring together all that I had learned in medical school and in my pediatric practice along with as many other valid healing modalities as I could learn. I needed to become an integrative doctor, one who incorporates a holistic (mind, body, spirit) awareness along with a natural, nuts-and-bolts comprehension of basic biological principles. I needed to go back and relearn basic information about bodily systems (immune, digestive, nervous, etc.), in order to determine what it takes to establish and sustain the human body’s natural ability to develop, grow, and thrive. Besides all of that I needed to become aware of the bodily effects of our toxic environment so that I could make reliable recommendations to my patients.
In short I needed to learn to practice medicine in a way that actually eliminates the causes of illness.
This book reflects my journey, and I am very glad to be able to take you on board. I have written it to provide you with solid information, so that you can come to understand the causes and effects of your own child’s health concerns––and so that you can move together in the direction of healing. You will find here a detailed summary of what I have learned, and helpful applications of that information that you can adjust to suit your personal family situation.
A glance at the Table of Contents will serve as an introduction to the “menu” I have prepared for you. Some of the chapters may not apply to your situation, because you may be dealing with only one or two of the 4-A disorders in your family. But you will find that I have repeated key concepts throughout the book, so you will not miss them if you skip a chapter or two.
My desire is to put into your hands a transformational book, one that can transform your presuppositions and partial information so that, with me, we can create evidence-based solutions for some of society’s most perplexing ailments. I want to bring you to the brink of discovery, where you can survey a variety of explanations and solutions and find the ones that align with your own physical, mental, and spiritual paradigms.
Each of my own patients and their families has gained greatly from what you are about to read. Now it’s your turn to receive the same benefits!

SECTION I:
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
Chapter 1
Four New Childhood Epidemics
Billy was born ten days after his due date after a very long labor, and he had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice. This did not seem to affect him negatively, though. At home he was a beautiful baby, always very active. All of his growth and developmental parameters were normal and on track. He was engaged with his family and communicative.
As an early toddler, however, he began to have temper tantrums and became very fearful of noises, which would make him cling to his mother for long periods of time. He gradually lost interest in his toddler play group. Billy continued to become more distant. Soon he would no longer respond to anyone calling his name, and eye contact slowly disappeared. By the time he was three, he had sustained numerous injuries while walking, running, or climbing, because he seemed to have no sense of danger.
All along his parents were reassured that their little boy’s behavior was within a normal range for his age. And yet he could not tell them if he was thirsty or hungry, happy or sad, or why he was upset––it seemed that he could not convey any emotion. Also, he had had bowel problems since he was six months old, but his mom had been told that it’s normal for children to have one bowel movement per week.
When Billy turned four, his preschool teacher suggested that his mother take him for a developmental evaluation conducted by a pediatrician. This caused her to begin to do some research on her own and her studies soon revealed that a pattern of behavior similar to Billy’s was typically seen in autistic children. Her fears mounted. Her Billy, who was once a healthy, happy little boy, now looked like a sad, helpless, clumsy boy who couldn’t express himself verbally, who would get upset very easily, and who was losing friends faster than he could make them.
Refusing to accept that nothing could be done, Billy’s mother located the website of the Autism Research Institute and found a holistic, integrative physician. He diagnosed Billy with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), with severe food allergies and constipation, and he initiated biomedical treatment. Billy started a gluten-free, casein-free, and soy-free diet along with supplements that included probiotics, enzymes, and a whole food concentrate to help turn around his “leaky gut syndrome.”
After four months, his parents could talk to Billy and he would listen. Another practitioner was enlisted and he diagnosed oral candidiasis (“thrush”) and heavy metal toxicity. As his digestive, immune, and nervous systems came into balance and Billy’s overall health improved, he gradually achieved developmental milestones in academics and social skills. Now he was able to make friends at school, to interact and play with them. He had good eye contact and his speech was clear. Remarkably, he once again enjoyed life. He was back to being a happy boy who could tell his parents what he wanted.
As time went on, however, he became overly gregarious and extremely hyperactive. His mom remarked “Well, it’s just that he likes to do so many things. He’s all over the place. He’s a bundle of joy but he can be very disruptive in a group.” By then Billy was six and had entered kindergarten. He maintained good grades. The comments on his report cards were upsetting, however, comments such as, “despite my best efforts I cannot persuade Billy to pay attention and he remains a constant disruption in class.” He was taken back to the doctor for a full evaluation. This time, the diagnosis was ADHD (attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity).
What could have happened? Were the dietary and lifestyle measures that had brought so much healing no longer working? This prompted a systems review with laboratory studies, dietary history, and supplemental program analysis, along with a measurement of his toxic burden, which revealed that Billy and his family had lapsed back into a lifestyle marked by an inappropriate diet that was devoid of proper supplementation, along with a disregard for their exposure to toxins.
I am happy to report that once Billy’s parents successfully reinstituted and maintained those lifestyle changes (nutrition, supplements, and a detox program), Billy no longer suffered from the effects of the ADHD. As long as he stuck with the lifestyle improvements, he could be considered healed and healthy.
Is This a Real Epidemic?
We are living in the midst of a colossal, quadruple epidemic. This epidemic has developed insidiously over decades and it has escalated rapidly during the past thirty years.
How is this possible? Isn’t an epidemic defined as a specific disease that spreads rapidly in a definable geographic region? How can four seemingly distinct disorders (autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies) share the same “epidemic” umbrella?
It’s really not a stretch to call this a modern epidemic, even though the symptoms can vary greatly and even though the escalation seems to cover all of the developed nations of the world. This is because this diverse population of children (adults too, but these problems start young) are united in what underlies their many overlapping symptoms—and they face the same health-challenging environment.
We are involved in this epidemic with four faces simply because we are all exposed to the same cause. Toxicity permeates our ecosystem. The human body responds to the threat in particular ways. When you add other factors of our modern lifestyles, you get a spectrum or array of disorders that are interwoven with each other. The reason this epidemic came to light in children is because they are the most vulnerable.
Although we characterize what’s happening as an epidemic, the children themselves must be evaluated and treated as individuals, because each person is affected in his very own specific way. We can see patterns and cause-and-effect, but many factors make each child’s situation unique. Once we begin to understand where this epidemic came from, we next need to determine just where each individual fits. Only then can we pursue healing.
Definitions
ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder
ADHD: Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
Candidiasis (oral): Commonly known as “thrush,” yeast overgrowth, or yeast infection, candidiasis indicates that the opportunistic Candida albicans fungus has caused white spots on the tongue and inside of the mouth.
Quadruple Epidemic
Within the past forty years of medical history, we began to realize that not only were rates of autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies growing into epidemic proportions, they are also connected to each other at the root. Not only do they share overlapping symptoms, they also often appear in the same individual.
My personal experience with patients and that of all the integrative physicians with whom I have worked is that we have not met one child who came to us with just one of the four conditions. The parents of a child with allergies would describe asthma attacks as well as their child’s learning problems (problems with concentration and attention span). Children would be diagnosed with autism and then with ADHD, and we would find that these hyperactive autistics also had severe allergies and asthma. Our conventional medical categories consisted of separate diagnostic boxes. But these kids could not fit into just one of them.
We have not met one child who came to us with just one of the four conditions.
How are these disorders related? What is their commonality? What element unites them all? The answer: the state of the digestive system. Every 4-A patient has an abnormal digestive system, which in turn impacts the immune and nervous systems, producing a familiar litany of symptoms.
“All diseases begin in the gut,” declared Hippocrates 2,400 years ago. He was describing our current epidemic.
Current Rates of 4-A Disorders
How many children and adults have been hit by this epidemic? Twenty-five million individuals, and most likely more than thirty million, when psychiatric conditions and the disorders in learning, behavior, speech and language, sensory integration, and motor skills are included. This certainly qualifies as an epidemic.
Is it an epidemic of genetic origin? While autism and the three other A’s have a clear genetic component, that cannot explain everything. These are not purely genetic diseases. Undoubtedly these patients were born with a genetic predisposition or susceptibility. Yet genetics alone does not cause epidemics, and it may not be as important as we thought it was. As Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health and former head of the Human Genome Project, famously said, “Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger.”
Environmental changes occurring to a genetically predisposed child sound like a more plausible explanation to me. But what are the specific triggers?
“Genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger.”
I believe that environmental factors are of paramount importance. Autism has increased 6,000 percent in twenty years, ADHD more than 400 percent, asthma more than 300 percent, and allergies more than 400 percent in the same time period. Two disastrous environmental changes have caused all this to happen: overwhelming toxicity and nutrient depletion.
Definitions
Commonality: A shared set of attributes or features. In the context of this book, the word refers to an aggregate of environmental conditions and influences that have caused the epidemic of 4-A disorders.
Allergy: An exaggerated response of the immune system to specific substances that normally pose no threat to the human body, involving the elevation of specific antibodies due to antigen stimulus.
Asthma: A chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes characterized by symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Autism: A developmental disorder that encompasses speech development, social development, physical capabilities and tendencies, and cognitive development.
Maria Rodale, CEO of the family-named multimedia healthy-living company, writes in her book Organic Manifesto:
Autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), diseases virtually unheard of a few decades ago, are now diagnosed regularly. Of every 100 children born today, one will be diagnosed with autism before the age of 8.* About 4.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Rates of asthma, diabetes, and childhood obesity are at all-time highs and scientists can’t explain why the number of children with food allergies has increased 18 percent in the last decade.** Is it a coincidence that the prevalence of these problems has increased as we have increased the use of chemicals to grow our food?”1
Toxic chemicals in our food chain are just one of the triggers. Let’s take a look at each of the epidemic disorders in turn before we go on in the rest of the chapters to describe all of the possible triggers, as well as specific and comprehensive strategies for dealing with them.
Autism
It would not be an exaggeration to say that autism affects everything in a child. Broadly defined, it is a severe developmental disorder characterized by significant disabilities in social interaction, communication, and behavior.
Autistic children range from those who appear to be normal to those who cannot speak at all or make eye contact, and who engage in repeated and disturbing physical actions. In less severe cases children may be diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome or one of the other four recognized disorders at the “high-functioning” end of the autism spectrum. These children may have near-normal speech capabilities, but many autistic social and behavioral problems persist.
Autism affects about five boys to every one girl, and it is usually diagnosed at a young age. Autistic children have serious social impairments, and many lack an intuitive sense about other people, misreading social cues and not being able to learn from mistakes. This seriously inhibits normal growth and development. If they are verbal, some autistic children characteristically repeat others’ words or reverse pronouns. They may have trouble engaging in imaginative play, a key aspect of normal development in non-autistic children.
Because autistic children can display such different symptoms, autism must be considered a “spectrum” disorder. Many people (and I am one of them) are convinced that ADHD carries the mildest form of the symptoms on the autism spectrum. Still milder would be “borderline ADHD,” or various learning disabilities. Autism spectrum disorder is often referred to as ASD.
Children with autism, as well as those with ADHD, tend to suffer from asthma and allergies. Many also contend with other comorbid conditions, such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sleep disorders, and more.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Like autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects more boys than girls. ADHD can be characterized by age-inappropriate impulsivity, inattention, and often hyperactivity.
ADHD is further subdivided into three types, as follows:
1. Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD. These children (more boys than girls) are in constant motion and find it hard to wait or listen. Instead, they act and talk impulsively.
2. Predominantly inattentive ADHD. More girls than boys have this type. They have difficulty staying focused and attentive, and they do not tend to “act out” or stir things up.
3. Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive ADHD. Most children with ADHD have this type.
Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD, although it can be difficult to draw the line at where normal levels of childish inattention and fidgety behaviors end and ADHD levels begin. These symptoms can lead to problems in academic, emotional, and social behaviors.
Sometimes other factors appear with ADHD and can make diagnosis confusing, such as depression, sleep deprivation, specific learning disabilities, physical tics, and overall behavioral issues. In fact we find that most kids who have ADHD also have one or more significant psychiatric, physical, or behavioral problem, including bipolar disorder. Because ADHD has so many different faces, parents should always seek out professional help to sort out the reasons for their own child’s behavior.
Although people with ADHD can become quite successful in life, the opposite can also prevail: school failures, discipline for unruly behavior, rocky relationships, and eventual substance abuse. Children with untreated ADHD can grow into adults who are depressed, anxious, minimally employed, and generally unhappy with their lives.
Throughout this book, when I refer to children with a kind of shorthand as “spectrum” children, I am referring to children whose symptoms put them somewhere on the autistic-to-ADHD continuum.
Asthma
The word asthma comes from a Greek word that means “panting.” It is a chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes characterized by symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. The inflammation is triggered environmentally by reactive substances or activities, including allergens, physical exercise, and cold air. The chronic inflammation causes swelling and therefore narrowing in a person’s airways. Most treatments focus on reversing this swelling to relieve the labored breathing.
When a person’s asthmatic symptoms become worse than usual, we call it an asthmatic attack. Without treatment the person’s bronchial tubes can close so that the person dies of suffocation.
Treatments include quick-acting medicines to give relief from asthma attacks and maintenance medicines to prevent symptoms over the long term.
Asthma ranks as the number one chronic illness in children today.
Definitions
Autism spectrum disorders: Five disorders with distinctive symptoms of autism: (1) autistic disorder, (2) Asperger’s syndrome, (3) childhood disintegrative disorder, (4) Rett’s disorder, and (5) pervasive developmental disorder—not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)
Allergen: Environmental substances that are normally harmless but which provoke a range of symptoms in reactive individuals.
Anaphylaxis: A severe and rapid allergic reaction involving many parts of the body, sometimes fatal.
Bipolar disorder: A mental disease characterized by cycles of depression and mania.
Allergies
People with allergies have hypersensitive immune systems that react to outside substances in an exaggerated fashion. The word allergy indicates an altered reaction, deriving as it does from the Greek words allos (different, changed) and ergos (action).
Besides causing discomfort and illness, allergies can trigger asthma attacks and can contribute to the severity of many other disorders. A person’s immune system is supposed to fight genuine microbial threats. In most allergic reactions, however, the immune system is responding in an exaggerated way to a false alarm.
Common substances to which people have an allergic response include pollen, dust mites, insect stings, pet dander, molds, as well as specific foods and ingredients in medicines. These normally harmless environmental substances are known as allergens when they provoke symptoms such as nasal congestion and sneezing, itching or swelling, rashes, digestive disturbances, or full-blown asthma. Most of the time allergy symptoms are annoying but not life-threatening, although an intense allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis affects multiple internal systems and can result in death.
Allergies are very common in the population at large.
Putting Them Together
In the next chapter we will explore how these four seemingly unrelated disorders, autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies––each of which has mushroomed statistically in our lifetime and which affect our children disproportionately––combine into one sweeping epidemic. I will offer encouragement to parents of 4-A children as I propose potential solutions. For the sake of our sons and daughters (who represent our future), let us not rest until we have brought this 4-A epidemic to its knees.